Completely Biased

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Ando Zone: Episode 7

the ando zone

The shit hath hitteth the faneth, as that guy from Ten Things I Hate About You would say.

A while ago I wrote that all news about Tony Windsor had dried up after September the 28th. You may remember our beloved Ando called Windsor a "coward" for going to the police over these bribery allegations, and also that he basically admitted to doing it.
"Who in the National Party, apart from me in consultation with the PM and foreign minister, could have offered somebody a diplomatic posting? It could only have been me."
- Ando

Wow! And it looks like it was too! If Windsor just wanted to take Ando down, why not name names before the election was over?

The Daily Telegraph is incorrectly reporting that Windsor named the Nationals during the campaign.
Mr Windsor, who holds the electorate of New England with a huge majority, rocked the election campaign with allegations that the offer was made on behalf of the National Party.

At the time, he said an intermediary of the party had promised him a diplomatic post in exchange for him giving up the seat he has held since 2001.

If I remember right, Windsor refused to name any names or parties unless the police asked him to (and didn't give any names during the campaign at all), although everyone speculated it was the Nats.

Here's what Windsor said tonight (this is his full parliament speech):
Windsor's Parliament Speech
"Mr Speaker, the House would be aware that the Australian Federal Police have referred an alleged breach of the Commonwealth Electoral Act to the DPP for determination relating to an inducement offered to me not to stand for re-election at the election just held.

"The House would also know that the prime minister has called on me to name the names of those people involved in the attempt to bribe me.

"I would like to place on record, Mr Speaker, an account of a meeting that took place on the 19th of May 2004 at 10.30am at the office of Tamworth businessman, Mr Greg Maguire, in the Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum.

"The meeting was attended by Mr Maguire, Mr Stephen Hall, my campaign co-chairman, Miss Helen Tickle, my campaign secretary, and myself.

"I have had many meetings with Mr Maguire in the past relating to the development of the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre and Mr Maguire has also assisted with advice during previous election campaigns.

"It was assumed that the meeting was to be about the upcoming election and progress that Mr Maguire had made in relation to the equine centre concept on planning which was being developed for federal funding.

"Prior to that issue being raised, Mr Maguire indicated that he had spent four to five hours the night before in the company of the Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and the National party Senator Sandy Macdonald and a black haired woman whose name he did not recall.

"Mr Anderson asked Mr Maguire to meet with me and give me some messages.

"Mr Maguire made a number of points regarding the previous night's meeting.

"John Anderson was paranoid about me and the demise of the Nationals and the rise of independents.

"Mr Anderson asked Mr Maguire to meet with me and give me some messages which Mr Maguire was then doing.

"Mr Anderson said that if I tried to get any credit from the funding from the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre that the funding would not take place.

"Mr Anderson was also concerned about my continued association with the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre, given my political position.

"Mr Anderson and Senator Macdonald asked Mr Maguire what it would take to get me not stand for re-election and indicated that there could be another career for me outside politics such as a diplomatic post or trade appointment if I didn't stand for the seat of New England.

"Senator Macdonald said: `offer him whatever it takes, we can deliver'.

"One of them also said, and I quote, `the government makes about 500 political appointments, it can be done'.

"Senator Macdonald also said: `Windsor has a pension, why does he want to hang around anyway, apparently referring to my 10 years in the state parliament.

"My response to Mr Maguire was: `Greg', and I know Greg Maguire quite well, `Greg, you should know, I'm - and there was an expletive put in here - I'm offended by that and you should know full well that I would not consider any such appointment'.

"Mr Maguire replied: `I know mate, I've just been asked to deliver the message'.

"My response was: `I cannot understand these guys and the lengths they will go to to get rid of me and to think that I would even consider such an offer'.

"I apologised to Miss Tickle for my swearing.

"My further comment to Mr Maguire was: `I believe - and I still do believe this - I believe this is an act of stupidity and desperation to regain the seat, tell Anderson and Macdonald I'm not interested'.

"Mr Maguire responded: `I still want you to get in touch with Anderson; Anderson is saying you won't talk to him' to which I agreed.

"And the conversation took place in this very spot a couple of weeks later.

"I believe that Mr Maguire was acting only as a messenger for John Anderson and Sandy Macdonald.

"The matter became public knowledge as result of discussions I had with Tony Vermeer from the Sunday Telegraph relating to my role in a hung parliament.

"The matter was subsequently mentioned in an article by this journalist in the Sunday Telegraph 19 September, 2004.

"I would like to point out, Mr Speaker, Mr Maguire is a very well regarded businessman in Tamworth, has been the prime mover in promoting the concept of the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre and I congratulate him on his success."

...And then he was out of time to speak. Ando made his response in the form of a parliamentary statement:
Ando's Response
"I completely repudiate the member for New England's allegations of improper inducements offered indirectly by Senator Macdonald and me earlier this year.

"I'd make the first point that there was no meeting on the 18th of May - I was in Queensland, Bundaberg, on the evening of the 18th.

"I have on three or four occasions met Mr Maguire. In total, I doubt that I've spent four or five hours with him. But I want to make it very plain that at those meetings neither I, nor the one in which Senator Macdonald was present, gave him any indication or authorisation to suggest to the member for New England ... that he might be offered some inducement in return for not running for the seat of New England.

"I cannot know what representations Mr Maguire might have made at the meeting that apparently took place on the 19th of May.

"But I can know that he had no authority whatsoever - implied, nuanced or whatever - from me or from Senator Macdonald to stand aside in return for some inducement.

"I understand that the police have interviewed a number of people in regard to this matter. They have not interviewed the member of my staff who was in attendance at the meeting that Senator Macdonald and I had with Mr Maguire. They have not interviewed Senator Macdonald and they have not interviewed me.

"But the matter is of course for them to take forward if they believe that there is a case that has to be answered by anyone.

"My position is quite simple on this one. I repudiate completely the claims. I do not engage in corrupt behaviour. So far as I am aware, at all times I have maintained what I believe to be both the law and the spirit of the law in relation to Australia's electoral matters.

"I think that matters. I think it's important. I think people who know me know that I think those things are important.

"And I said during the campaign that I would not do it, I haven't done it, and I would certainly not authorise anyone else to make those sorts of offers on my part.

"I said that during the campaign, I repeat it now. That is, so far as I am concerned, all that I intend saying on the matter."

WebDiary adds this interesting little bit:
Late tonight Mr Anderson produced his itinerary and flight details covering the 18th of May, 2004, when Mr Windsor alleged Mr McGuire met him. They confirmed that he was in Bundaberg, Queensland on the 18th, before flying to Gunnedah that night. It appears Mr Anderson met with Mr McGuire on May 15, 2004.

Now I'll post a comment by someone who will remain anonymous unless they want me to tag their name on it (you know who you are):
Mark my words, Anderson is in shit. He's denied it, naturally, but the facts are stacking, Ando. Tick tock. I'll be VERY surprised if a by-election in Gwydir isn't announced before the end of the year.

But this also holds other connotations. See, if there's a by-election Anderson will more than likely lose his seat. Gwydir will probably fall to Labor.

But more critically is Macdonald. A COALITION SENATOR.

For those who came in late, the Coalition holds the senate with an absolute majority of thirty-nine. Labor has twenty-eight, the Greens and the Democrats four each and Family First has one.

But if a Coalition senator is forcebly removed, if he isn't replaced with another Coalition member, then the Coalition will lose their absolute majority. They'll simply hold half of it. Let's assume Labor wins, now holding twenty-nine seats. The Greens and the Dems will back up Labor, bringing it up to thirty-seven.

Leaving just one to hold the balance of power.


And if this causes enough outrage, there could be a double dissolusion, probably less than a YEAR after the Federal election.

The Nationals will be punished for bribing an MP. They will lose seats. Some they hold by a mere thread, and the smallest jostle will send them falling into Labor's safe hands.

Ever the optimist, but that's one hell of an interesting thought. I highly doubt we'd get a double-dissolution, but the Nats losing a Senate seat? That's a very real possibility.

Latho has gotten stuck into Ando also.

For more stuff (although all the stories are highly similar due to the shortage of source material):

  • Andrew Bolt (or the currently invisible Piers Akerman) will write a suckup article (if the Herald Sun don't omit the news altogether) on how awesome Ando is and try to make it sound like bribes are good.
  • This'll blow over in a month and Ando will get away with it, and still be deputy PM.